Thursday, January 31, 2013


The Shetland Times of 30th November 2012 carried a report on page 8 titled Replica Bus boat project launched:

'Plans have emerged for a full-scale operational replica of a wartime torpedo boat which served in the Shetland Bus operation. A three million-pound project is taking shape south of the border to recreate MB718, a Fairmile D torpedo gun boat. Built on the Clyde in 1944, the 110 ft vessel was among the many boats which took part in clandestine operations between Shetland and Nazi-occupied Norway.

It's not known when the boat will be completed. But proposals are being drawn up to allow her - and paying passengers - to re-enact the daring missions which took place from the isles.'

 Meanwhile, in Brisbane, Australia, businessman and so-called 'mining magnate' Clive Palmer is spruiking about his plans to build a full-scale replica of the Titanic - modern and safer.

 Why is our era so entranced with the past? Is it our timidity? Does it show a lack of creativity, a lack of interest or confidence in the future? Is it a new Romanticism? Or is it some cynical game to profit from tourism opportunities? - see  Tourists need things that are quirky, different and entertaining to heighten the distraction from the everyday. The bland and boring countenance of ordinary life prompts the great desire for the extraordinary that only seeks out ever more extreme circumstances to maintain the rush. A recent television programme on salvage has the buyer looking for things quirky, different, interesting and 'engaging' for the eye so that he can sell his purchases from the pile of collected bits and pieces of recycled discards to Interior Designers for a huge profit, because these are the qualities that are seen as 'art' today. One could suggest that these qualities are the core of our era, seen not only in art and design, but also in fashion and the everyday where, in order to be recognised, things need to breach the barrier of the ordinary 'everyday' (see and ) and become 'entertaining' - that thoughtess dance into the void of mindlessness. Coomaraswamy tells us how art was once much more than this simple diversionary tactic that has pushed egos to the fore and highlighted personal whims.

 Is this desire for re-enactments why we want to recreate the studios of artists? - see  Why not sell tourists time in the studio - to sit where Margaret sat; to stand where Francis stood? This is the stuff of our times - its stuff ups? What is the problem? Christianity has put the proposition clearly:

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

Our lack of contentment today is driving the world into an exponential spin where things keep chasing the unobtainable in all kinds of ways. Advertising highlights this idea most clearly. Here images of beautiful ladies/men - depending on one's preference - entice and seduce to promote the mundane product that becomes an immediate disappointment upon purchase. Where did she/he go? One is silently mocked as the corporate managers sit back and count the cash, leaving consumers - 'users,' interestingly the same word that refers to people hooked on drugs - to languish in their constant defeat that only stirs the ambition for more of the same, such is the push of the promotion which parallels the 'rush' of the drug. 'PR' - is this the ‘Push’ of the ‘Rush’?

We need to stop, to forget about greener pastures that are never there, and settle down into a world of contentment. This is not the safe, easy, relaxed and comfortable world of dreams pushed and promised by politicians. It is a world that is emotionally honest with itself. Dreaming of becoming a WW2 activist or a wealthy Titanic passenger will improve nothing other than the level of forgetfulness - for a while.

I wonder if the new Titanic will have daily re-enactments of the iceberg incident for everyone's entertainment? Will the torpedo boat be shot at with machine guns mounted on replica airplanes just to make the experience more real? Maybe the boat might come into regular contact with fake mines that give of a smoky harmless bang? These occasions are all very petty. It seems that the West has no interest in modifying its actions. Only Islam is telling the West that it has gone astray; that it has lost itself in a world of quantity. Thinkers of the East, (this is the title of a book by Indries Shah - see ), have written more about this than Western intellectuals, e.g. Rene Guenon, The Reign of Quantity. Why does it take so much time to learn from mistakes? Why is the West so arrogant as to ignore the wisdom of the East?

On the torpedo boat, the report goes on to say - 'the vessel will be a mirror-image of the 1944 original.' The mind boggles. How can the symmetry of a boat be mirrored? Does this mean a change from left hand drive to right hand? Then more: 'The original was, for a time, painted "Mountbatten pink", which was seen as an effective camouflage in low light conditions.' What a marvellous surprise, a pink tropedo boat! It sounds like a Disney cartoon illustration. The tourists will love it. I wonder if the uniforms are provided as part of the package? Pink ones?

Weeks after preparing this piece, on 3 February 2013, Google News presented an article from the Herald Sun with the headline: Team re-enacting Ernest Shackleton's Arctic voyage to land on South Georgia - see
Why? What complications in logic and meaning are involved in these ambitions? Did this team wait for the same weather conditions?
Another thought arises: is the re-enactment of the past a kind of performance souvenir? - see


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